With the opening of House of Nazareth, Moncton’s new homeless shelter, which is now more than two months behind schedule, the province has stepped in to provide emergency funding to open additional shelter beds at another shelter in the city.
The province is providing the Harvest House with temporary funding to hire more staff so they can open up about 40 more beds.
“It is only month to month right now until that new shelter opens which could be the whole winter we don’t know,” said Cal Maskery, executive director of Harvest House.
Maskery says the funds will be used to hire two additional staff to supervise beds which are being placed on the main floor. He said that last week when tent cities in Moncton were shut down he was at capacity for several days.
“So we are just working with the city because it’s a crisis.”
Maskery said he is still unsure how much the province will pay the shelter per month.
“We are still negotiating that but they told us it is enough for an extra staff per night.”
N.B. Department of Social Development Communications Officer Abigail McCarthy stated in an email that “the Department is making the funds available now to Harvest House to use to expand their operations until such a time as the new Nazareth House shelter opens in Moncton.”
But the department did not provide a monthly figure stating only that the funds are part of the $659, 000 dollars it invested across the province to help people transition from homelessness to more permanent housing.
Meanwhile, Maskery is still wondering when the new shelter will in fact open and how many beds it will house.
“We are all 100 percent for that it will help our city. But we would love to know a time line just so we can plan a little better,” Maskery said.
The House of Nazareth received 480,000 dollars from the provincial and federal governments this spring.
No one from the House of Nazareth was available for comment and according to the City of Moncton, as of Friday, the shelter still hadn’t applied for a building permit.
Charles LeBlanc, who is the division chief for Moncton’s fire prevention and investigation unit, said that he did receive formal building plans for the facility last week but he cannot determine how many beds it will in fact hold until construction is complete. The Fire Marshal must sign off on the plans and the construction before the facility can open.
“Once all the renovations are completed and they are just about ready to move in we will going in and conduct an inspection. Unfortunately that is pretty difficult to conduct an inspection until everything is complete,” said LeBlanc.